File:Thomas Hardy aged 70, by William Strang.jpg|thumb|230px|Thomas Hardy aged 70, by William Strang
'''Thomas Hardy''', Order of Merit|OM
(2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Literary realism|Victorian realist
in the tradition of George Eliot
, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism
, especially William Wordsworth
[Dennis Taylor, "Hardy and Wordsworth". Victorian Poetry, vol.24, no.4, Winter, 1986.] Charles Dickens
was another important influence.
[Gillian Beer, ''Darwin's Plots''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.]
Like Dickens, he was highly critical of much in Victorian era|Victorian
society, though Hardy focused more on a declining rural society.
While Hardy wrote poetry throughout his life and regarded himself primarily as a poet, his first collection was not published until 1898. Initially, therefore, he gained fame as the...